Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

THE LAST WORD: Rab’s two pot plants have stuck with him through thick and thin

Post Thumbnail

I’d like to tell you about two companions, who have stuck by me through thick (“You’re certainly that, Rab”) and thin (“Not so much any more, mate”).

Other than the odd cheeky remark like these, they don’t say much. Indeed, they tend to keep themselves to themselves. But they are serene and long ago, I suspect, resigned themselves to accept their fate.

Doubtless, they’d have preferred someone a bit better organised, tidier and less prone to stomping aboot the hoose shouting about objects that “just disappear – they just disappear!” and toasters that “only have two settings – ‘Incinerate’ and ‘Cremate’!”

But they’re stuck with me and I with them. This is surprising, for I’ve a horror of commitment. I cannot remember acquiring these companions, but it must have been at least 12 years ago and, I suspect, considerably longer. I must have let my guard down.

Perhaps it was during the festive season and I’d inhaled a large Advocaat with lemonade. At any rate, I’m glad of my companions now, and even take a sporadic interest in their welfare.

For they are … two pot plants. Yes, imagine the responsibility! Me, with two lives (of sorts) in my care. Considering that I kill off nearly everything in the garden just by looking at it, it’s surprising that they’ve come through so much.

That’s included three or four flittings, which must have been as traumatic for them as they were for me. Every time, I say “Never again”, and a few years later we’re off once more.

Rab McNeil.

Then I have to find the right place in the new house to put them. I think the parlour palm (if that’s what it is) was a bit unhappy in this latest house at first. I put it in the living-room so it could watch the telly, but I don’t think it got enough light.

It’s not half the plant it used to be, but has perked up since being put in the kitchen, which is surprising as you’d have thought the aromas would have killed it or at least made it, as they do me, depressed.

The mother-in-law’s tongue, if you’re still allowed to say this, looks fine, I guess, though bits fall off it from time to time. I think it’s a succulent, so it only rarely wants water, which saves me some effort.

It’s difficult to know what they want. Recent reports suggest plants can hear and talk, though I think the former just means they sense vibrations, and the latter is a theory held by magazine columnists rather than properly qualified scientists.

I mustn’t over-egg my doings with the plants. They get watered, misted and fed with Baby Bio from time to time. I ask how they’re doing. They say: “So-so” or “Mustn’t grumble, though I could, like.”

I guess you could say they’re a bit downbeat. Never up for a party or dancing and, since neither am I, we get along fine.

They’ve outlasted several cars, toasters, beds and radios. I think they make the hoose a better, less sterile place. So I’ll carry on rooting for them, as I’m sure they will for me. For I’m the man with the watering can. I’m numero uno aroond here. Mother-in-law’s tongue: “He’s just a talking chimp.” Palm: “Cannae even make toast.”

Already a subscriber? Sign in